These 40 up-and-comers—all 40 years old or younger—are changing the way Americans eat and drink, from a vodka distiller who rewrote Nebraska's Prohibition-era laws to a White House chef who's fiercely fighting to improve school-lunch programs.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015


Rob Cooper: Spirits Inventor

Photo courtesy of Cooper Spirits / Eisenhut and Mayer Wien.

A third-generation distiller, the 33-year-old Rob Cooper is one of the most influential spirits makers in the country. His deliciously subtle St-Germain elderflower liqueur—made with petals picked by hand each spring in the French Alps—permanently altered the cocktail menus at bars everywhere. He aims to repeat the feat with Crème Yvette, a violet liqueur based on a long-lost Cooper family recipe.

Plus Go to the Cooper Spirits website

More Inspiring Food Personalities 40 and Under

Jennifer Rubell

Siggi Hilmarsson

Sam Kass

Zach Brooks

Robert Litt

Brett Beach & Tim McCollum

Geoff Bartakovics & Nick Fauchald

Matt Timms

Michael Kirban & Ira Liran

Emily Olson & Rob LaFave

Brendan Newman & Rico Gagliano

Matthew Cain

Anya Fernald

Kenji Lopez-Alt

Frances Ro

Charles Bieler

Chris Parachini & Brandon Hoy

Tata Harper

Annemarie Ahearn

Minh Tsai

Amanda Hesser

Matt Jennings

Alison Pincus

Tracey Brandt

Rob Cooper

Christian Ettinger

Peter Karpinski

Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru & Jonathan Neman

Zac Triemert

Anthony Myint & Danny Bowien

Jeremy Tooker


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